World-famous flower carpet returns to Brussels this summer

World-famous flower carpet returns to Brussels this summer
The design in 2022. Credit: Flower Carpet

Brussels' iconic Flower Carpet, which every edition attracts thousands of admirers, will once again be created on the cobblestones of the Grand Place this August. For the first time, the work will consist mainly of dahlias rather than begonias.

The floral work of art measuring 1,600 square metres will take over Brussels' historic square in the city centre from 15 to 18 August for its 23rd edition, an unmissable event in Brussels' cultural and tourist calendar. The event only takes place once every two years – the last edition in 2022 was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Flower Carpet.

This year organisers are launching a "double revolution" to rejuvenate the image of the carpet and attract a younger public.

The Flower Carpet on the Grand Place in 2018. Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Firstly, fresh dahlias of different colours and varieties will make up more than 80% of the large floral carpet (measuring 70 x 24 metres), marking the first time since its creation in 1971 that traditional begonias will not be the main flower on show. "Grown in Belgium, the dahlia is both robust and aesthetically pleasing," the Brussels Flower Carpet Association said.

Secondly, the floral motif has been designed by a street art artist from Liège, Océane Cornille, under the pseudonym 'Whoups'. Organisers explained the intention to give the piece "a younger, more inclusive image". Cornille designed the motif based on the concept of the plant rhizome, referring to the metaphor of the urban 'rhizome', where neighbourhoods "join and separate in a complex dynamic network".

"Like the roots of a plant, these lines intersect and overlap, creating a dense, organic network that reflects the diversity and vitality of Brussels," Cornille said.

The finishing touches are put to the 50th edition of the Flower Carpet in 2022. Credit: Belga/ Nicolas Maeterlinck.

The Flower Carpet was inspired by a similar event in Oudenaarde, East Flanders. The spectacle convinced two Brussels councillors to do the same in the capital. In 1971, the Grand Place held its first installation, titled Arabesques. From 1986, it became a showstopper every two years.

The flowers will be supplied by Bloemencorso Loenhout, which also supplied the dahlias for the 2022 edition. Aside from dahlias, begonias, grass and bark will also decorate the historic square. Some 100 volunteers gather ahead of the event to assemble the carpet in less than six hours.

The carpet will remain at the heart of Grand Place until Sunday 18 August at 22:00 (final entry at 21:30). A light and audio show will take place every 30 minutes in the evening (between 21:00 and 23:00). People can visit the carpet itself for free, but can also choose to purchase ticket (€7) to enjoy a panoramic view of the carpet from the City Hall balcony.

Tickets for the 2024 edition of the event are available here

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